Sunday, December 18, 2011

Flights of tea, so you don't have to fly all over the world

Feel like you want to compare and contrast black teas or oolong teas, etc...?  The nice thing about flights of tea is that it allows you to taste, smell and see the differences within a type of tea.  Just think of the differences of an Assam black tea and a Darjeeling black tea.  Those teas are grown not too far away from each other, though they are grown at different elevations and use different botanical varietals (Assam the large leaf Assam varietal, Camellia sinensis assamica and Darjeeling the small leaf Chinese varietal, Camellia sinensis sinensis) and have very different tastes.  Add to that Chinese red (black) teas and other growing regions across the world and you will notice some subtle and pronounce differences.  

You could also included the same tea, but different methods of production (orthodox method versus the cut, tear and curl method).  Heck you could even have the same tea and between it being processed as a white tea, green, oolong, black, pu-erh, etc... though that may be harder to do, since that rarely happens or if it does it would usually would be a green and a black. Also rarely is the same tea produced in the CTC and the orthodox method.

This tasting of a type of tea can help someone who wants to gain more knowledge about tea in general, better knowledge of a variety of tea you already like or even to help you find the tea(s) that will become your favorite.  

So if you cannot afford or have the time to travel all over the world and enjoy tea, why not try a flight of tea.  Usually the teas come from various parts of the world and while you are sipping them you can pretend you are in the exotic lands they come from.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tea is Hot ;-) or Hot Tea.....

Twitted about this article yesterday called 'Reading the Tea Leaves'.  It is becoming more mainstream in the USA or we are just catching up with the rest of the world.  As the article states and I have mentioned to astonished people that tea is the second most consumed beverage behind water.  Many Americans naively think that the most consumed beverage then would be coffee because for some reason they think that coffee has to be above tea.  They forget that tea is widely consumed in many parts of Asia (including China and India with over a billion people each) and most former British colonies, except the USA (darn Boston Tea Party....).  The irony is if the USA did not have the American Revolution with the Boston Tea Party, I bet we would be a more of a tea drinking country.  Oh well.  Not saying that the American Revolution should never have happened, just like tea.  Though if you go to the South, sweet tea and iced tea are popular.

On a side note.  I will be blogging on The Tea Review Blog.  Reviewing teas that are not from Rishi, the company I get most of my teas.  So all my tea reviews will be there, unless I occasionally review Rishi, which will be done here or gasp I may use my Steepster account for that.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tea Basics

Had a bachelorette party on Saturday and was a little surprised how little some people know about tea.  They were definitely curious and asked a lot of questions, which I tried to answer to my best ability.  It was a nice reminder that many people do not know that much about tea and there was a time when I was like that myself.  It did feel good to teach them a little about tea.  The differences between white, green, oolong, black and puer-eh teas, nothing too in depth.

I was going to eventually have classes about tea at my place and this made the decision easier.  The ladies seemed interested and asked many questions, so it seems classes teaching general knowledge of tea would go over well.  Maybe some more in depth classes for people who have general knowledge and for anybody who has had beginning classes and want to learn more.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Potato Leek Soup not Glue Soup

I am writing this post about Potato Leek Soup.  The idea started when I was making Potato Leek Soup Monday morning.  We do a weekly soup that we let people decide.  We let them vote on our facebook page as a question (there are 10 choices of soups to vote for).  The soup with the most votes is the winner and now am letting the second highest voted soup be the soup made the week afterwards.

I used a masher to break up the cooked potatoes, instead of using a food processor.  I have heard about how a food processor breaks up the cells walls of the potato to produce a glue like consistency.  If you have made Potato Leek Soup with a food processor before you have probably noticed that it ends up like glue, tasty glue, but glue nonetheless.  The soup may be more chunky then a classic Potato Leek Soup, but it will not be like glue.  I did use the food processor for the other ingredients and an occasional potato that snuck in, so it did have some smoothness.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Flowering Tea, blooming right it is....

Flowering tea, blooming tea or even display tea are all names for tea that is tied together that unfurls into a visually attractive display.  They are usually steeped in a glass pot, so you can see it unfurl.  Tend to be white or green tea from the Yunnan area with mild flavoring flowers (chrysanthemum, jasmine, carnation, marigold, calendula, and osmanthus) inside the bundle.  They try to be visually gorgeous with colorful names like True Love Flower Tea, Royal Lily Flower Tea, Two Dragons and a Pearl Flower Tea, and Spring Marigold Flower Tea (the flowering teas I have at my place).  

I just recently learned that some people think that flowering tea is a recent invention from the 1980s.  Before hearing that I was told that it is of more ancient origins.  That tea was hand tied in intricate patterns to unfurl for emperors, special family occasions and other important events in China.  It was for display only and the tea was not typically drunk.  The tea tended to be from cheaper or inferior tea, the reason for not drinking the tea.  Only recently has the quality of the tea gotten better.

When I went to one of my tea classes to become a certified tea specialist we tried a flowering tea and was surprised on the quality of the tea.  The teacher of the class mentioned how the flowering teas typically were of lower quality, but she was also surprised that this flowering tea was pretty good. She assumed that since people were actually drinking the teas now that better quality tea would be used by some companies.  It made sense to me.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Brrrrrrr, Fall officially starts today & I need some hot tea.

It is getting colder and the days are getting shorter, one of my go to choices for Fall days is the Jade Oolong from Rishi tea and yes I do buy tea from Rishi for my tea house.  No matter what, I would seek out a oolong tea that is closer to a green tea that is my favorite tea type.  Jasmine and green teas are also some of my favorite teas, so the Jade Oolong is a natural choice for me.  Jade Oolong tea has a nice floral taste to it, which I love.  Though out of Rishi Teas I like the name of another tea the best.  How can you hate the name Iron Goddess of Mercy?  It just sounds cool and isn't bad either, but not my first choice.  Jade Oolong is.  Ok, many teas have cool names Monkey Picked Oolong, Longevity Eyebrow, etc....  Still just love the name Iron Goddess of Mercy.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fruit Tarts

Mini Fruit Tarts make life a little more bearable, at least for me.

I recently made some fruit tarts with a lemon curd base and a nutella base.  The lemon curd ones have the blueberries and the nutella ones have strawberries.  The crust is a basic pie crust.  They tasted pretty good.